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Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 99: Big Ole

Skol! Skol! Skol!

The residents of Alexandria are so proud of their Big Ole statue, they raised more than $26,000 dollars to restore his 50-year-old body in 2015. ⁣

It wasn’t the first time the fiberglass viking needed a tuneup. Evildoers of yore have plundered Ole’s sword and — we couldn’t even make this one up — fired a flaming arrow at his festive Santa suit in 1967. Having fully recovered from those catastrophes, the 28-foot-tall, 4-ton gentle giant was later whacked by a windstorm and kneecapped by a snow-covered roof.⁣

Big Ole

Big Ole has moved around a bit, too. Sculptor Gordon Schumaker originally built him for the 1965 New York World’s Fair, to be showcased alongside the Kensington Rune Stone at the “Minnesota, Birthplace of America” exhibit. When that wrapped, the Norseman moved to Alexandria, where he watched over the village folk from a busy spot downtown. His current location — a park near the Legacy of the Lakes Museum and the Runestone Museum — is less trafficked, but visitors and locals still seek him out for photo ops. Be prepared to wait your turn with the Big One and for Odin’s sake, please leave the crossbow at home.

Big Ole
Central Lakes Trail, Alexandria, MN; no phone.